Saint Andrew

Today the church remembers Saint Andrew, one of the twelve apostles, a fisherman and brother of Peter. Andrew was the first to follow Jesus, originally being a follower of John the Baptist, consequently is name is always listed first in a list of the apostles.  He was crucified in Patras, Greece, on a cross in the form of an ‘X’ and ever since this has been referred to as a St Andrews cross.

Like all saints there are many tales about Saint Andrew and his influence, one of the most famous in Scotland came about during a battle in the late 8th century; a cloud in the form of the St Andrews cross appeared in the sky, the Scots rejoiced in seeing this declaring it a good omen and that St Andrew was watching over them.  The battle was indeed won, and Saint Andrew was declared the patron saint of Scotland. His links with Scotland however go back at least a couple of centuries before that to the 664 and the Synod of Whitby.  The main reason for this synod was to get an agreement on when Easter was, the Celtic church and the church in England celebrated it on different dates, during the debate it became clear that the Celtic church was not going to shift its position and there was then a dispute over who would be in charge of the Scottish churches, ensuring they came into line.  The English church fell into two jurisdiction York and Canterbury and it was decided the Scots would become part of the see of York.  The Scots, however, were not very happy about this, they didn’t want to loose their identity or the tradition that had been passed down to them, so they decided that as York’s patron is Saint Peter the Scottish church would claim Saint Andrew as their patron and, as he had been an apostle first, use that as the reason as to why York could not rule over them.  This however was not just a political move relics of St Andrew were believed to be in Scotland at that time.

St Andrews in Fife; home of the famous golf course and some argue the birthplace of golf itself; is named after him and it is believed that relics of him are still there.


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